Fire chiefs win £1.8m bids for funding

FIRE chiefs in Northumberland have been successful in a funding bid to update control room equipment.

The county’s Fire and Rescue Service and its Tyne and Wear counterpart will both receive £1.8million to replace their outdated mobilising systems after their joint bid was approved by the Government.

And once the new items have been installed, the Northumberland control room will be relocated from Morpeth to its headquarters at West Hartford.

Under the new system, each service will be able to take the other’s calls, which will increase resilience and remove the need for secondary control rooms.

Applications were made by fire and rescue organisations across the country following the decision by ministers to scrap controversial and costly regional control centres and ask local fire chiefs to develop their own proposals.

Chief Fire Officer for Northumberland Alex Bennett, said: “This funding is welcome news for both Northumberland and Tyne and Wear.

“It is important that we use new technology to build on the emergency services that we provide to ensure that we continue to operate safely and efficiently.

“We look forward to continuing our partnership with Tyne and Wear to ensure that control room officers and firefighters are well prepared for the implementation of the new systems next year.”

The new system will use the latest voice and data communications technology, which will enhance the call handling and fire appliance despatch process. The current equipment has been in place for 15 years.

The two organisations are also looking at working with another fire and rescue service in the UK so that on a rare occasion when both control rooms are unable to take emergency calls due to a large number of simultaneous incidents, its control room could take them.